Every day, we strive to be better than we are today. We recognize that people of diverse backgrounds — including women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals and beyond — are underrepresented and undervalued within the automotive industry. At Audi of America, we are challenging the norms and challenging ourselves. There’s never been a more exciting or transformative time in the automotive industry. We believe the best ideas — the ideas that will define our future — will come from new ways of thinking. We believe everyone should have a voice. We believe in equality. We believe that “we” includes all of us. For these reasons, we strive to create a workplace where diverse ideas are embraced, where people can be themselves, and where everyone comes together to create amazing customer experiences, drive sustainability and reinvent mobility.
We are committed to this change. And we’re just getting started.
Charting a new path
Audi of America has been on a huge growth trajectory for the last 12 years. In the midst of all the transformation — revamping our product line, building new business models, improving our customer experience, and going electric — we did not do enough to buck the trends of the automotive industry. As of 2020, our organization was only 21% women and 17% people of color (7% Asian American / 5% Hispanic / 3% Black / 2% Multi-racial or Undisclosed).
We have not hired or promoted enough people of color, women, or LGBTQ+ individuals. We have not done enough to shift our culture so that everyone — in the words of Jennifer Brown — feels welcome, valued, respected, and heard. In late 2019, our management team took the decision to make inclusion one of five key initiatives to drive our company forward. Since January 2020, we unveiled and have started the work of a comprehensive inclusion strategy.
Our commitment to change
1. FOSTER AN INCLUSIVE CULTURE
Conduct training to create a culture where people can be themselves and diverse ideas are embraced; reinforce through ongoing engagement.
2. ATTRACT MORE DIVERSE STAFF
Reexamining hiring practices to bring new people into the organization at all levels, across all areas; hold ourselves accountable with targets.
3. RETAIN AND GROW DIVERSE STAFF
Nurture our people and make room for all types of individuals; equalize satisfaction among diverse staff versus their peers.
4. SHOW OUR COMMITMENT
Forge new partnerships; ensure 50% diverse influencers, and ensure that talent is diverse in front and behind the cameras. This includes spokespeople, directors, and content creators.
We believe that actions speak louder than words. That's where we are starting, and we're committed to keeping the momentum going.
To increase diversity — across all levels of the organization — we have set goals for new hires, promotions, and internal transfers — based on best practices from the DiversityInc top 50 companies list. We are retooling our culture and processes so that we can achieve 50% women and 25% people of color.
Throughout 2020, our actual new hires, promotions, and transfers consisted of 32% women and 35% people of color. We’ve achieved this without yet activating the core parts of our strategy. Starting in 2020, we spent this time securing resources, fleshing out requirements, building programs, and dealing with the fallout from COVID-19.
Starting in 2020, Here’s what we’ve accomplished:
Created our diversity and inclusion manifesto
This statement, at the top of this page, is meant to act as a rallying cry for our team members and a reminder of our joint mission to transform our organization.
Engaged a consulting firm
Brought in a level of expertise to help shore up our strategy and develop an extensive set of inclusive-culture training materials.
Formed the Audi Inclusion Council
The 25-member council is overseeing the execution of the inclusion plan. Members span diverse locations, departments, seniority levels, genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and religions.
Spun-up sub councils
These small working groups are collaborating to organize events, overhaul our job descriptions, establish diverse hiring committees, and track marketing activities to ensure they align with our inclusive values.
Kicked off inclusive-culture training
Our executive team attended two inclusive leadership workshops in the first half of 2020. In late May, all people managers received a coaching guide to help them guide their teams through the company-wide training that starts in July. In 2021, we have installed a dedicated Senior Manager of Inclusion.
In 2020, we constructed a solid foundation, which will enable us to gain increasing maturity over time as a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace.
Continue to conduct inclusive-culture training
In July 2020, all team members will start a series of self-paced training modules to learn how to contribute to a more inclusive culture. All people managers will receive supplemental live training later in the year to further transform the way we make decisions, listen to each other, and co-create solutions.
Inclusion ambassador program
To cultivate an inclusive culture across the business and seed inclusive behaviors, we established a cadre of volunteers from across the organization to become official inclusion ambassadors.
Inclusion boot camp
Inclusion council members and all inclusion ambassadors will attend an intensive inclusion boot camp in late summer. Establish a framework for dialogue among colleagues that fosters communication on a wide range of inclusion-related topics.
We will be reaching out to team members to find out what’s going well and what’s not. We’ll be soliciting honest feedback and new ideas.
Regular sentiment surveys
We will start regular surveys to see how team members are doing in general and where the organization can improve.
Extra funding for Employee Resource Groups
We’ve secured the funds and are working on the strategy to distribute them.
We’ve secured funding to enable our recruitment team to hire supplemental support to proactively seek out diverse talent for our open positions starting in 2021; we’re working with our recruitment team on implementation in 2020.
More diverse leadership
While we now have three women on our senior management team, there is still only one person of color. Our leadership has committed to bringing progress to all levels of the organization. We need people with different perspectives driving our decisions at the top; we realize that representation matters.
Change starts from within
We have a collective goal to drive meaningful transformation at Audi of America. We recognize we have a long way to go and we have begun this important journey. We have leadership support. We have passionate team members. We have resources behind us. And, most of all, we have the Audi challenger spirit.